1. How 3D Printing Works
3D printers produce objects by printing thousands of tiny layers that stick together to form a solid.
Before printing, the object needs to be designed and modeled on a computer, systems that are typically open source and very easy to use.
Modern 3D printers can print up to 10 materials at once, including metal alloys, to create complex objects like prosthetics in a much more efficient way.
2. It’s An Economic Revolution
Leading results expect 3D printers in every home in the near future; they will likely be powered by renewable energies, and use recycled materials.
This could drive down the production cost of many consumer products to virtually zero, and allow you to print almost everything you want at home.
Prices for 3D printer for the consumer markets are already at as low as $400, and they are becoming easier and easier to use.
Even houses, cars and bridges have been 3D printed, albeit with some limitations, One’s ready, manufacturing of large, complex objects will become much faster and cheaper.
3. Making of Organs And Human Tissues
In the past few years scientists have made some astonishing breakthroughs in developing applications of 3D printing for medical purposes.
Researchers have successfully 3D printed human kidney and liver tissue, beating human heart cells and working heart valves.
Some 3D-printed body parts have even be implanted, including human platters, vaginas, jaws and pelvises for cancer survivors.
In the U.S. alone, 1,23,000 people are waiting for organ transplants – 3D printing them could, therefore, save and improve countless lives worldwide.
Leading researchers like Anthony Atala and his U.S. team, but also Chinese scientists are continuously improving their methods and expect complete 3D printed organs to be only 10 to 20 years away.
4. Making of Electronics and Complex Objects
3D printers have been working great with plastics for years, but now they can also take on metals and complex combinations of materials.
Recent technological advancements have allowed as to print electronics, such as computer circuits, drones, roberts and even 3D printers themselves.
A huge advantage of 3D printing is that it allows for unlimited customisation. This can include clothes, shoes, replacement parts, but perhaps most importantly prosthetics which would otherwise cost tens of thousands of dollars to precisely fit a wearer.
5. The Future of 3D Printing
3D printing is expected to become a $20 billion industry by 2019 and transform the traditional manufacturing market, especially for consumer products like toys and part replacement.
Once the remaining technological challenges are overcome (i.e. for living tissue and increasing production speed) the applications of 3D printing will be virtually unlimited.
In the future, 3 D printing could play an important part in colonizing Mars and even other solar systems.